Bad breath in dogs and cats can be more than just an annoyance; it may be a sign of oral disease that, if left untreated, can lead to other serious health risks and significantly affect the quality of your pet’s life. Dental disease is one of the most common problems encountered in veterinary medicine today and it’s one that cannot be ignored. That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is working to draw more attention to this issue by proclaiming February “National Pet Dental Health Month.”
According to the AVMA, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3. Pets who develop dental disease may exhibit certain behavioral issues due to pain or show an unwillingness to eat hard foods. The disease will only worsen as your pet grows older, which is why early detection and treatment are essential. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious health issues involving the heart, liver and kidneys.
It’s important, therefore, for pet owners to be proactive in the dental health of their pets.
Brushing teeth should be a daily ritual for our pets, just as it is for us. A soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for pets can be used to brush your cat’s or dog’s teeth each day to help prevent plaque and tartar deposits. Nutrition is also an important factor in your pet’s dental health and overall well-being. Make sure your pet is eating a healthy diet each day and discuss their diet plan with your vet.
At least once a year, your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked by a veterinarian. Your vet will check for any early signs of a dental problem, such as bad breath, broken or loose teeth, discolored teeth or any covered in tartar, pain in and around the mouth, bleeding from the gums and mouth and any swelling in areas surrounding the mouth. Your vet may recommend a professional teeth cleaning, which is generally performed under anesthesia in order to thoroughly clean around the gum line. They will conduct a thorough dental cleaning, scaling and polishing your pet’s teeth to remove tartar and plaque buildup for white teeth and health gums.
Caring for your pet’s teeth is vital to keep them happy and healthy for many years to come. Be proactive with daily brushing and regular veterinarian checkups and watch for any signs of bad breath, swollen gums or yellow-brown tartar buildup. Your pet will thank you for it!